By JOHNSON KANAMUGIRE

African countries are wooing members of the European Union to reallocate their unused reserves to the World Bank and IMF to support cash-strapped economies that are burdened with debt and reeling from the effects of the pandemic.

They say reallocation, along with trade deals and ending inequalities – such as global vaccine distribution and certification – are essential for future relations with Europe.

“Financing our economic recovery in part through the landmark Special Drawing Rights decision would cement efforts to engage productively at the economic level,” said Monique Nsanzabaganwa, Vice-President of the Union Commission African, while presenting the sentiments of African governments to the AU. EU ministerial meeting in Kigali on October 26.

“We look forward to the reallocation of unused Special Drawing Right allocations through the World Bank and IMF to increase access to finance for developing countries, whose most needy are on the African continent.”

Without giving details, the EU pledged more support for debt sustainability, including addressing countries that hold a large portion of Africa’s debt.

“We Europeans are no longer the biggest holder of African debts. We are working hard to accelerate the implementation of the G20 framework debt treatment. We are working to increase the allocation of Special Drawing Rights for the benefit of Africa, ”said EU High Representative and Vice President Josep Borrell.

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European Commissioner for International Partnership Jutta Urpilainen had not answered our questions about vaccine waivers and the pending trade deal at press time. The AU is working to undertake impact assessments of economic partnership agreements and bilateral free trade agreements on the implementation of the agreement establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area, as well as the finalization readiness assessments for the establishment of an African customs union.

Ms. Nsanzabaganwa said the AU also demands the establishment of a joint expert working group to develop the modalities of continent-to-continent cooperation with regard to trade and investment issues embedded in the Customs Union. African.

Problems linked to the global response to the pandemic have tainted Africa-Europe relations, firstly with the denial of intellectual property rights for cheaper vaccine production; the bias in access and distribution of vaccines, and the application of controversial Covid passports between the EU and African countries.

The EU has pledged € 1 billion ($ 1.15 billion) to support the production of vaccines, medicines and health technologies in some African countries, notably Rwanda, where a manufacturing plant of mRNA vaccines of 100 million euros ($ 115 million) is expected by 2024 according to the contract reached. between the government and BionTech on Tuesday.

Rwandan Minister of Health Daniel Ngamije said East Africa that the government is counting on the EU and other partners to mobilize funds for the factory that is expected to produce the Covid-19 vaccine and those against malaria, tuberculosis and other complex but life-saving vaccines.

The WTO ministerial conference is scheduled for November 30 to December 3 in Geneva, Switzerland.


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